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Flash Festival: Part Two - Opposed at Royal & Derngate (Underground) & In Her Reflection at the Looking Glass Theatre, Northampton

After having dealt with death in the second Flash Festival show I saw (albeit in a very funny way), I needed some light relief. However there was to be no such luck with Opposed, murder was on the agenda. Coming from ViceVersa, formed of two ladies, Lindsay Davis and Reanne Lawrence. This was a stark, sometimes for myself confusing depiction of the days leading up to and leading away from a murder.

Of the first three shows, this was by far the most heavily choreographed one. Clever side by side timed movement was the order of the day and it was excellently timed throughout.

This is a difficult play to review without giving too much away, suffice to say it revolves around a murder and your understanding at the end whether it could ever be justified. Using the most complicated, and well designed set of my first three shows, it was more of a visual feast than a play for me. Relying heavily on physical movement to tell the tale. This is not to say that the acting is to be ignored, strong use of repetition and a haunting nursery rhyme were well presented. Also always present are the scary dolls, be they babies, be they children, be they just dolls, this is for the audience to judge.

Of my first three plays, Opposed it is the least accessible, with the one that requires the viewer concentration the most, and at the end of the day they can never be a bad thing. And for the actors involved, all the more challenging to perform and this is what its all about.

*

In Her Reflection was once again a very tough subject, Gender Dysphoria. Having a limited understanding of this at the outset it was going to be interesting to learn a bit more about it, and this clever, well written, well performed play did just that.

Coming from Between Two Worlds formed of Kathryn Belmega, Katherine Hartshorne, Zoe Harbour, for me excellent in Love & Information (Review) and Brigette Wellbelove, also superb in Animal Farm (Review). This was one of the plays I was most looking forward to from the week.

I have to say I was not disappointed. Powerful clear performances from all the cast, nice performed songs, and well designed movement pieces ("Let's throw Brigette around as she is little" must surely have come up in the creation meetings). There was also a remarkably tiring (even watching) piece performed to a well mixed audio selection.

Unlike Opposed there was some nice light relief, mostly from the clowning and costume changes of the wonderful Zoe Harbour (I am trying not to have favorites this week, but I come with preconceptions from the March shows, so can't help it). It's amazing how difficult it is to balance big things on your head, or get into rather unusual costumes, but it was dealt with smoothly.

Overall an intelligent and very well researched performance helping the uninformed a greater understanding of what must surely be a terrible thing to be afflicted with. It also had a couple of my favourites in so I am sold. I am sorry, I can't help it!


Opposed is on at the Royal & Derngate (Underground) on Wednesday 14th at 11am and Saturday 17th at 3pm

In Her Reflection is on at the Looking Glass Theatre on Thursday 15th at 2pm and Saturday 17th at 7pm.

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